A Message On Seniors’ Safety From Lake Region EMS
Paramedics and EMTs respond to thousands of emergency calls every year. Many of these calls have involved seniors from our community. Did you know that there are a number of things seniors can do to protect themselves from having an emergency? Two areas to think about are fall prevention and medication safety.
In the US nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall every year. One in ten will result in a serious injury or even death. Serious injuries require hospitalization or other long-term care facility. Men are almost 50 percent more likely to die from a fall, and women are more likely to have a serious fracture.
To help prevent falls, check your home for good lighting around all stairs with light switches at the top and bottom. Also, make sure there are sturdy handrails running the full length of both sides of the stairway. Are all rugs flat secured to the floor with rubber backing or tape? Consider using night lights for those unexpected midnight excursions. While on that midnight venture, you may want to consider some ideas for the bathroom area. Are the toilets too low? You may try a specialty seat to help. Put sturdy handrails near the tub and toilet areas. And don’t forget a no slip grip or mat in the tub.
One of the potential factors in falls is dangerous drug interactions. Research shows that the average senior takes 4 prescription medications daily. Sometimes, there are unexpected effects when multiple medications are taken. The risk for this increases when a patient sees multiple doctors for different issues, uses multiple pharmacies, and when there is no clear schedule for taking medications. Be sure to bring a complete list of medications and supplements with you every time you have an appointment. Talk with your pharmacist to be sure that there are no interactions with the medications you are taking. If there is concern, they can help you resolve it with your health professional.
Lakes Region EMS has partnered with the North Branch Police Department, The North Branch Triad, and other community groups to develop the File of Life program. This simple information sheet and magnetic holder allow you to fill out basic information about you and your family in case you have an emergency. If you or your group is interested in receiving a File of Life packet, or any other information about senior safety give them a call.
Lakes Region EMS 651 277 4911
Chisago County Public Health Office 651 213-5231
Central Minnesota Council on Aging www.cmcoa.org/ 800 222-2433